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Stolen green sarcophagus

Victory for Africa as Stolen Sarcophagus Lid Returned to Egypt by US

On Monday, Egyptian authorities announced the recovery of a heavily looted sarcophagus lid from the United States at a ceremony in Cairo. The sarcophagus, which dates back to the Late Period of Ancient Egypt (747-332 BC) and is one of the heaviest, weighing 500 kilograms (about 1,100 pounds), was recovered after a two-year investigation and collaboration with US authorities.

Ahmed Issa, Egypt’s minister of tourism and antiquities, stated that the lid had been “looted and smuggled from Egypt to the United States a few years ago.” The recovery of the sarcophagus, known as the “Green Sarcophagus” due to the green face on top of it, is just the latest example of the ongoing efforts by African nations to reclaim their looted artifacts. In the past 10 years, Egypt has recovered around 29,300 ancient pieces smuggled out of the country, with over 110 of those being retrieved in 2022 from the United States, New Zealand, France, and other countries.

Stolen green sarcophagus

However, this is just a small fraction of the countless artifacts that have been taken from African countries and are currently housed in European museums. The issue of looted artifacts and the ethical concerns surrounding their display in museums has been a source of tension between African nations and the European countries that possess them.

In recent years, there have been increasing calls for the restitution of these artifacts to their countries of origin. In 2020, France announced a plan to return 26 looted artifacts to Benin, and in 2019, the British Museum agreed to loan the Rosetta Stone, an important ancient Egyptian artifact, to Egypt for a period of three months. It is crucial that efforts to reclaim looted artifacts are supported and that African nations are given the opportunity to reclaim their cultural heritage.

Stolen treasures mr. Imhotep
The recovery of the “Green Sarcophagus” is a positive step, but there is still much work to be done. European museums must acknowledge the ethical issues surrounding the possession of these artifacts and consider the importance of their restitution to the nations from which they were taken. It is time for African nations to have their voices heard and for their cultural heritage to be returned to where it rightfully belongs.

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